Photo: Craigslist/Various

This past year was a bad one for new cars, since it seems actual “cars”—especially truly interesting ones—feel like they’re on the endangered species list. Still, it was a great one for used cars, trucks, and even bikes. Here’s a look back at the highs and lows of all those we featured on Nice Price or Crack Pipe.

They say hindsight is 20/20, and in our case, it means we can take a fresh look back at the year that is coming to a close and dive into all the used car ads we looked at, argued over, and eventually compounded the fate of.

Let me start off by saying that none of this could have been made possible without one main ingredient—YOU.

The way Nice Price or Crack Pipe works is that I give you a car available for sale, offer up some pithy commentary about the model and perhaps the ad, and then set you forth to vote on the price like the savvy shoppers and knowledgable gear-heads that you are. It works like a well-oiled machine.

That machine has resulted in a year in which we’ve considered 251 ads. You cast an amazing 1,972,324 votes on those ads and supported those votes with more than 52,000 comments across the Kinja kitchens of each post.


There were quite a few of you coming back every day too. At the end of the year the tally was 8,844,100 pageviews across all the Nice Price or Crack Pipe posts from January 1 to December 21.

And yes, I do realize that I am omitting this week’s entries. That’s just my laziness showing through, as I had to take time to compile and then deliver all the info below. Needless to say the small clutch of candidates missing wouldn’t have skewed the numbers terribly.

Added together, the total dollars for this year’s contests came in at $3,230,346.00. That’s slightly higher than last year, but still in the same ballpark. Not that we’re going to a ballpark, mind you.


Let’s have a look at the rest of the fun numbers for the year, shall we?

Round 1, The Nations:


I like to think of myself as a patriot, and as such, I was happy to see the U.S. come in with 76 vehicles on the list, representing over 30 percent of the grand total. That showing proved the strongest contingent of the year, with Germany slotted second with 67 cars, just edging out Japan which had 66.

It was a good year for Great Britain and Italy too, with respectively, 16 and 12 candidates each. Our love of all things Volvo and Saab may be waning however, or maybe its just that Saabs are aging out of the used car pool. Whatever the reason, we only looked at 8 Swedish cars in 2018.

France too seemed under-represented with only two on the list. Making up for that somewhat, we did have one car—yay Bricklin!—representing from Canada, a former French colony. Australia tied France, and we even had a lone survivor from Russia.


All in all, I don’t think there were too many surprises in the nations. I can’t wait for Elon Musk to start building Teslas on Mars though. That way we can add an interstellar entry to the list.

Round 2, The Decades:

Our candidates ranged in age from a 1955 Citroën to a 2018 Alfa Romeo. In between lay a bell curve that likely looks a lot like that of that of the average age of cars presently on the road. Go figure.


The biggest era represented was the Eighties, which makes sense since I keep seeing a lot of those I (Heart) The ‘80s bumper stickers. Oddly enough, they usually aren’t on cars from that decade. Weird.

The ‘90s and audacious Aughts also represented significantly, while the ‘70s, ‘60s, and ‘50s offered meager but ascending contributions. Our present decade filled in the declining slope on the other side of the curve.


Round 3, The Prices:

The cheapest set of wheels we looked in in 2018 was a $600 1994 Ford Probe that was offered for whatever reason with no door locks. It was otherwise kind of okay, and took home a solid 79 percent win for its trouble. I guess its low perceived value made its lack of security acceptable.


On the other end of the spectrum, was the Superlite SL-C, a wild kit-car on steroids that had us all breathing a little bit heavy. That car was unexplainably on Craigslist and carried with it an asking price of $87,500. Hot damn, that’s a lot of Friday night beer and pizza.

Owing to the 55 percent Nice Price win awarded the Superlite, it’s also apparently not too bad a deal to go scalded-cat fast and to look good while doing so.


Round 4, The Votes:

The meat and potatoes of Nice Price or Crack Pipe is of course the daily vote. That’s what separates us from the animals, and possibly the vegatables.

As I noted, you all voted—both up and down—almost 2 million times this year. That means that about 22 percent of you who came and saw NPOCP also added a vote. There are actual elections that get lesser participation, and see how that all turns out.


And lest you think that almost all the cars we look at are losers, the actual breakdown of Nice Price to Crack Pipe votes was 50.05 percent Win and 49.95 percent Loss. You just don’t get much better balanced than that.

Among this year’s votes, we had both close contests and routs. For the former, two German cars took the prize. The closest winning vote went to the 2009 Porsche Cayenne GTS manual we featured back in June. At $29,995, that hot crossover squeaked by in a remarkably tight 50.09 percent win.


Falling on the other side of the fence, the 2000 Mercedes Benz E320 Designo took home the closest loss, with its $3,200 price missing the mark at 50.31 percent on the negative side. So close, but as always, horseshoes and hand grenades.

Interestingly, our biggest vote getters, both in the win and loss column, came from Ford this year, and they fell fell only a day apart.


The first of those was the eye-offending 1985 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe upon which seemingly every element and afterthought had seemingly been painted orange.

The seller of that un-rhymable Aerobird had the temerity to ask $13,200 for his artwork and that resulted in a stunning 96.47 percent Crack Pipe loss. Maybe, like Van Gogh his work will be better appreciated post mortem.


Just one day after that shocking Thunderbird passed into memory we looked at another Ford, a 1989 Bronco II that appeared remarkably well preserved and asked a meager $1,500.

Those seemingly at-odds attributes resulted in the little trucklet earning a decisive 96.03 percent Nice Price win, the highest of the year. That bodes well for Ford’s impending release of its next generation Bronco and Bronco-ette, as long as they’re not Broncos in name only, and only cost $1,500.


Round 5, The Passion:

Making our opinions known may very well be the reason the internet was invented. That’s not to say however, that we were equally engaged when it came to the voting for all of 2018's candidates.

The physical act of voting, which involves some modicum of movement and hence could be construed as a questionable expenditure of time by some, varied dramatically.


It wasn’t aligned with comment numbers or overall popularity either, a fact which I find extremely puzzling. The top five candidates generating the most votes—both up and down—are as follows:

That’s a lot of passion for the product right there. Whether you thought it was a deal or not, you thought it was worth your time to weigh in on its fate.


On the other end of the scale we had a small tally of cars that really didn’t stir your loins in any fashion whatsoever. The bottom five vote getters were:

Round 6, The streaks:

Of course that passion manifested itself into winners and losers, as aways. Sometimes those came in waves like the nausea induced by eating bargain bin sushi.


The longest wining streak we had ran for an amazing ten consecutive days—two weeks worth of win, which don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, is a lot of win. Here they are, in order.

That streak was ended by a 2017 Fiat 124 Spider (55.4% loss) that apparently hadn’t depreciated quite enough for your tastes.


For the losers, it seemed Halloween truly was the season of the witch as we had a string of seven cars—all in a row—bracketing that holiday, all of which went down in flames. Let’s see what they were:

The losing ended when I hit you with a custom manual-equipped 2002 Honda Odyssey. That proved joyously popular (58.92% win) at its $6,000 asking.


Round 7, The Most Popular Car, Er, Truck of 2018:

You voted and you commented, but moreover you all kept coming back to see what we had on display each and every weekday. Some candidates proved more popular draws than others, and one major takeaway is that many of you don’t quite know what to make of motorcycles.

That’s okay though, we want to make sure that we’re hitting the most interesting cars, trucks, and yes, even bikes that the classifieds has to offer.


That being said, the most heavily trafficked post of the year, and hence most popular candidate, was one that perhaps didn’t seem that special at all.

Yes, a 1999 Toyota Pickup truck in nice shape and asking only $7,799 does hold a certain je ne sais quoi, but this particular Deluxe Cab seemed to resonate in a way that no other candidate did this past year.


Its post generated over 180,000 pageviews, making it a new NPOCP all-time record and well above our daily average of 35,235. What made it so gosh-darn popular? That we may never know.

What I do know is, I’m sure glad you liked that truck and that you come back here each and every weekday to play our little game, put up with my frequently terrible puns, and engage in a little what-if? as we consider classified ads full of potential pleasures and pitfalls.

Those are the all 2018's numbers, and I’m sticking to ‘em. It’s a ton of fun to bring NPOCP to you, and of course it wouldn’t be so without all you you playing along, so thank you for that.


Happy New Year, mis amigos!